No. 2 UCLA Men's Soccer Blanks Portland, 2-0
Sept. 21, 2003
Los Angeles, CA - The second-ranked UCLA men's soccer team earned its fourth shutout victory of the season, defeating Portland 2-0 in front of 696 fans at Drake Stadium. UCLA (5-1-0) received goals from freshman Benny Feilhaber (Irvine, CA/Northwood HS) and senior Matt Taylor (Irvine, CA/Irvine HS) in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
The first half of the game was a defensive-minded affair, with Portland (3-5-0) taking just two shots and preventing UCLA from having any shot opportunities. But as has been the fashion this season with the Bruins, UCLA turned things around in the second half and peppered the Pilots with 11 shots, five on goal. In the first minute of the half, Feilhaber, on his first touch of the game, sent a hard shot into the box that Portland keeper Luis Robles had to dive to save. Feilhaber would not be denied on his next opportunity. In the 58th minute, he scored his first career goal with a shot from the left side to the far post off an assist from Ty Maurin (Chino, CA/Don Lugo HS).
Taylor continued his torrid scoring pace in the 60th minute, registering his seventh goal of the year in just five games. Adolfo Gregorio (Hilmar, CA/Hilmar HS) set up the play by weaving through a pair of Portland defenders and then passing it to Taylor at the top right of the penalty box.
Portland hurt its chances to even the score when junior midfielder Josh Simpson was ejected at 72:46, forcing the Pilots to play a man down.
UCLA goalkeeper Zach Wells (Costa Mesa, CA/Newport Harbor HS) earned the shutout, his third of the season. He has lowered his goals against average this season to 0.35. Robles had three saves in the loss.
Said UCLA head coach Tom Fitzgerald, 'This kind of game was difficult to play because Portland was more interested in keeping us from scoring than playing the game. They were packing it in, with all 11 guys playing defense. Their main objective seemed to be to get a 0-0 tie, which made for a difficult game in the first half. But the second half was much better for us offensively. The man of the match was Benny Feilhaber. He played a great game in the midfield.'
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